There’s Nothing Like A Good Horror Novel In the Summer! Here’s Why…

The summer months are my favorite time to read horror novels. Yes, summer. I know it sounds odd. Horror novels aren’t something usually associated with summertime. Contemporaries and romances are usually the sort of books that pop up on any given ‘best summer reads’ list.

Horror novels are something usually associated with the fall—and for good reason. The crisp air, the rustling of dead leaves across pavement, the melancholy of a gray sky, and the smell of wood smoke from fireplaces make an absolutely perfect atmospheric read. You don’t need to try too hard hear the quiet footsteps down abandon hallways or hear a raspy voice outside. Getting into the spirit of Halloween for an extra month or two is always fun and often expected.

But a book that can utterly terrify me during a bright, happy summer day? That’s something special.

Maybe it’s a little unfair of me to judge this way. After all, I read a pretty decent amount of horror. Most of the fictional podcasts—and even some of the nonfiction ones—I listen to all have a horror element to them. I watch whatever horror anime happens to come out that season with utter dedication. And professionally, I tend to edit more of the horror-themed manga than any of the other plethora of genres.

A book that can pull you right out of a hot summer day with clear, blue skies and the scent of freshly mowed grass and cut flowers is something special. To be transported to a cold, dark mansion or an ancient, twisted forest when the shouts of happy children out of school and the sound of the ice cream truck float through the living room window is something I’ve quickly grown to love.

The first book that did this to me was Cherie Priest’s Family Plot, a story about a salvage team taking what they could from an old mansion filled with more than just forgotten antiques. There I was in the middle of July, terrified to walk into my own bathroom or glance out the window overlooking the field behind my apartment. It was ridiculous. Terrified on a bright summer day in the middle of the afternoon?

I loved every second of it.

Besides. Sometimes a book can be a little too atmospheric. After reading Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions—a book where a woman living in her husband’s generations old mansion finds an utterly horrifying haunted doll the in attic—I caulked the shut the door to the crawlspace where my great-grandmother-in-law’s terrifying, life sized porcelain doll lives. I’m not taking those kind of chances.

That was also the last time I read a horror novel home. Though I doubt I’ll run across such eerily similar circumstances again, it’s best to just not tempt fate.

Despite the majority of my horror novel reading being done at the park up the street these days—or maybe even encouraged by it—I still find myself picking up a good horror novel in the summer.

About author

Kathleen Townsend

Kate writes things, reads things, and writes about things she reads. She’s had a few short stories published, and works as a freelance editor. Favorite genres include epic & high fantasy, science fiction, time travel stories, video game related tales, light novels, and manga.

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  1. REPLY

    Lost says

    Oooh I don’t much go for horror, but I deff agree that books that can pull you into a completely different place are the best kind 😁💚

  2. REPLY

    Erin says

    I can’t find Priest’s “The Family Album” but I did find “The Family Plot” – is that the book you describe? Thanks!

    • REPLY

      Kathleen Townsend says

      Oh no, what a typo! Yeah, the book is “The Family Plot.” Hope you enjoy it!

  3. REPLY

    Elle says

    I love good horror, no matter the time of the year, but looking at it from this perspective, it is interesting. Like…if you read a horror book in autumn, would it scare you as much in summer? I also love horror that takes place in summer – taking bright, sunny days and twisting them into something so much darker. Great article!

  4. REPLY

    Janina @ love letters says

    I really love this post — because of the subject matter at hand but also, and most importantly, because it made me think about myself in relation to that. I’m not much of a Horror reader but I have read a decent amount of Thrillers and most of them in the summer! The reason for that is that instead of happy atmosphere, laughing children and sunny days, I think about stiffling heat, weirdly blurry sight because of the bright sun which makes it almost feel like if you’re hallucinating and the paradox of seeing the black sky and blinking stars at night while still feeling the warm air on your skin. It’s so very interesting to read about different perspectives. Thank you for this!

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